Loeb Center

Does career preparation have a place in the liberal arts? How can Amherst connect students with alumni in meaningful ways? With unpaid internships growing in prevalence, what’s the best way to create equitable opportunities for students who want to build their resumes? And how does a college encourage students to visit the Career Center early on—before they even know what they want to do? 

During Homecoming weekend members of the Amherst community gathered for the dedication of the newly named Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning. The celebration began with a panel discussion that asked all of those questions and more. 

Over the past several years, the Center has reorganized around seven different career areas and expanded its offerings to encourage students to explore various professional paths. This reorganization marks a fundamental change from the traditional college career center, and today, more students than ever are visiting. Last year, more than 1,300 Amherst students participated in advising sessions, and the center offered over 140 programs that ranged from traditional resume workshops to industry-specific trips.

Loeb Center
President Martin speaks at the Loeb Center for Exploration and Planning Dedication

The Loeb Center has also renewed its focus on internships, particularly turning unpaid internships into paid. For many students, a summer without an income is not an option. Last year, Amherst funded 164 internships in 24 states and the District of Columbia and in 21 countries.

“I have a better idea of what I want to do because I’ve used the Loeb Center. I’ve spoken to staff about different options, as well as talked with many alumni,” said Emmanuel Osunlana ’18 during the panel discussion. “I want to be happy with the decision I make and the Center is helping me do that.” 

Beselot Birhanu ’17, another panelist, said that through advising, internships and job-shadowing, she discovered what she found most engaging in her field of interest. “I knew I liked science and wanted to work in health, but the field is really broad. There were clinical environments that I didn’t really like or feel comfortable in, and others that really got me excited and I could see myself waking up to do every day. That’s what exploration is all about.”

Loeb Center
Michael Loeb '77 and President Martin at the Loeb Center Dedication

Marjorie and Michael Loeb ’77, longtime supporters of Amherst and the Career Center, attended the dedication. During the panel, Michael Loeb likened internships to 10-week interviews. He remarked that an internship is a chance to put young people in real situations and see what they are capable of accomplishing.

Through Marjorie and Michael Loeb’s transformative gift, Amherst and the Loeb Center are at the forefront of a new kind of college career services—one that doesn’t just prepare students for a particular task but shows them the history and principles that underlie their work and teaches them to think creatively and communicate effectively so they will be more successful in their life and career paths.